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October 5, 2016

Cole Hamels

Arlington, Texas - Workout Day

MODERATOR: We're going to get started with Cole Hamels.

Q. Given your success in Postseason, what do you think is most important for a pitcher in getting through Postseason and being successful?
COLE HAMELS: You know, a lot of it really goes into the time that they put in in trying to prepare. But ultimately, when you get into that, you know, stage of competition, it's about controlling your emotions and executing pitches.

If you're able to play within yourself and stick to a good game plan and obviously make adjustments when need be, you know, and stay motivated in the dugout, then you're putting yourself in a pretty good place and not becoming a distraction for your team, so your guys can go out there and accomplish what we need to accomplish, and that's to win ballgames.

Q. This is not to belittle anybody in your rotation, but I think that you and Yu are considered truly this team's 1 and 2. And to have a definitive 1-2 going into the series, you've been part of a team that had that. What kind of difference does that make in setting a tone, and how much responsibility is there on you in particular?
COLE HAMELS: When you do, when you're able to go out there and put yourself in a team -- and your team in a position to win from the very start from Game 1, you're able to take momentum a little bit more on your side and leading into, you know, Game 2. Game 2 is always very important.

But I think a lot of it really comes down to is that transition, is that Game 3. Sometimes you're either coming back home or you're going on the road. That's a pretty important game.

But at the same time, no matter how successful guys are or looked at during a season, the Postseason is where you do discover a lot about your team, a lot about individuals. If guys are doing what they're supposed to do, you know, that's where heroes are made. That's where guys get noticed. And sometimes it's the most unsuspecting character that has the most success and makes the biggest difference in the Postseason.

So as much as what's looked upon as a No. 1 pitcher, No. 2 pitcher, No. 3 hitter, a closer, it's the other guys. It takes a full roster to be able to win ballgames.

And you're most likely probably going to get some of the biggest results from the guys that you least expected.

Q. You always hear teams talk about the key to stopping the Blue Jays is keep guys like Edwin and Jose and Donaldson in the park. How much easier said than done is keeping guys like that in the ballpark?
COLE HAMELS: I think if you really look at all the Postseason teams that we have, they've got about three, four guys that hit a lot of homers. If you look at this year in general, it seems like almost every guy had 20 home runs in every lineup, 1 through 9.

So it's probably the year of the home runs. So you do, you have to execute pitches. If you're able to execute, minimize the damage, I think that's the key. These guys are some of the best hitters in the game. And they've put up the best results year in, year out.

So you just have to make sure that you're making quality pitches and not getting overhyped up or overworked up for certain situations that might come up because big damages are those three-run home runs, and that's really what can be the downfall to the game, and definitely swing some momentum on to the other side.

So there's a lot of -- we've got a lot of power hitters on our team too. So it's just a matter of making pitches and trying to minimize the results, because they are going to get hits. It's kind of the name of the game.

Q. Last year you went into the playoffs you were sort of at the end of a tumultuous season, the trade, had to play all 162 to win. Has this year been a smoother ride for you personally and the team? And does that give you put you in a better position possibly going into the postseason?
COLE HAMELS: You know, it's great to be able to be with one team from the very beginning, from Spring Training on. You develop a really good bond with the players that you're going to play with. And in between the lines you get to know tendencies a lot better. Guys can anticipate a little bit more, and I think the flow of the game can be a lot smoother.

So it's something along those lines. But at the same time it's always exciting to be able to get to the Postseason. I mean, this is what we work towards.

This is something from the very beginning of the offseason from when we start training, these are the goals that a lot of us write down and try to remember and this is what we want to go out and accomplish. To be able to do it on this team, this team has worked tremendously hard at getting here.

We've stayed relatively healthy throughout the year, especially later in the year, which has been, I think, key.

I think guys are really excited to be able to get out there and really show everybody what we've got. And I think it's going to be a tremendous matchup and a lot of excitement that's going to be surrounding it.

Q. Are you glad to get another chance at the Blue Jays in this Postseason?
COLE HAMELS: I think anybody -- you know, no matter what, all four of those teams that had the potential to play against are very good lineups.

You want to play against the best. In order to win the World Series you're going to have to play and beat the best, you know, every stage.

And so I think there's probably a lot more excitement going into this game, which for me it's -- I feel very fortunate to be in this situation. It's not every day you get to get to the Postseason, let alone you get to play big-time games.

These are the type of games that people are going to watch years from now and really see these types of moments. So to be able to know that I'm participating and I have a hand in the situation of the game, it's great. Because this is what I love to do. I love to play the game of baseball and I want to play at the highest level.

And I think this is a very high-level game, with a lot of energy, a lot of excitement. So it's nice to know that something important's going to happen this series.

Q. You've been in the playoffs many times. Jonathan Lucroy, your catcher, any advice you give him about how to handle this situation and go through things?
COLE HAMELS: Last I checked, I think he's been in the Postseason. So I think he's pretty good. He's been in numerous All-Star Games. So he's caught some tremendous pitchers.

I think all of us, I think when you play this game long enough, you learn the routine. You know what to do and you just go out there and you trust the guys that are next to you. You trust the game plan that we set forth, and then we just try to enjoy the moment and play the baseball the way we know how and really let the energy take us.

Q. What do you remember about 2008 when you got on such a great roll, pitching so well?
COLE HAMELS: Not much. I think that's kind of the funny part about this game. When you're doing something as crazy as, I guess, I did and especially being part of a championship team, you start to realize how unprepared you are. And as you start playing the game long enough, just because I wasn't -- I was only in the game for about three years, I didn't know what it really meant.

Now, when you play long and you have a lot more opportunities and they don't happen, then you really start to see the importance behind it and the preparation that goes into it, and you really -- you yearn for it because you feel like you're a lot more ready for these situations and you're more prepared. And you want to show obviously everybody what you can do and what you can handle and obviously winning a World Series is the ultimate achievement in this game.

So a lot of us, we want to be in that position, but when you don't know what you're doing, you don't know the value. And I think now I understand the value. But sometimes then I have to kind of dumb myself down and simplify the matter that this is a game that I enjoy.

I've played a ton of these games. I've got a ton of innings in big moments, so you try to be within yourself and stick to a game plan and just go out there and execute pitches.

Q. What do you make of your last months or so of performance, and where does that put you in terms of being prepared for the Postseason?
COLE HAMELS: I think anytime you look into the past you don't get too far. So as great as you can be, the ups and downs of baseball, that's baseball. It's a competitive game. You're playing against the best players in the league.

You're going to have good games. You're going to have bad games. You're going to go on some good streaks. You have to live in the moment. You have to understand what's at stake, the team that we're playing, you know, how to prepare and getting those guys out.

And I think that's kind of what you go towards. Health is a huge factor. You want to make sure you're in the best possible shape that you can. And mentally you just kind of have to really trust yourself and go out there and execute and enjoy. Because this is a very, very fun moment. There's not too many times you get to play in this type of atmosphere, sell-outs, people on their feet.

I think everybody can attest to the game last night was one of the more exciting games anybody's ever watched and that's great for baseball. And those are the moments you want to be a part of. So it's to enjoy what we have, and even if you're at home or you're away, it's a fun moment for baseball and baseball fans.

Q. I realize this doesn't change how you approach these games, but with the games being scheduled for 3:30 and noon, is there any sense among you or any of the guys that this series is kind of getting slighted, it's nowhere close to prime time; that it's regarded as less appealing?
COLE HAMELS: It's unfortunate, but at the same time I think there's about a thousand big league baseball players that would love to be in this situation no matter what, they're at home.

There's guys that -- we really do, we're happy to be here. And we've worked incredibly hard to be here. If we don't have the type of market or viewers that really attest to having us at that sort of prime time location, we understand.

That's why you have to win and get on to the next level. If that's really such a bad thing, then I think it motivates you more to go out and win, so that we can get to those prime time moments.

But we're just happy enough to be able to be out there and play. And all of us, no matter the situation, wherever we have to play, whatever time we have to play, we're actually here. And everybody else there -- we could have been at home.

Q. You're a veteran guy. You have a lot of other veterans on this team. With so much talk from the outside about bad blood, quote/unquote, between the two teams and what happened earlier this year, is there anything that the veterans need to do to make sure some of the younger guys have a full grip on what's at stake and to not let the emotions get carried away at all?
COLE HAMELS: I know from this team, I don't think there's any other focus than going out and trying to win a ballgame and trying to advance.

I think, and I don't want to speak for the Blue Jays, but I think their main goal, too, is to win a World Series. I mean that's ultimately the goal. Both of us did not make the World Series last year. And that is the goal, is to go to the World Series and win it.

So I think we're both very focused on knowing that we need to beat each other to advance, and that's the main focus. And I think that's kind of where we're at. I know there's going to be a little bit more excitement surrounding it. But I don't think we mind. I mean, this is fun on all levels. So it just kind of makes everything a little bit more hyped up.

I do, I think that we are, both of us on both sides, have a goal. And that's to win no matter what.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Cole.

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